- Madrid was an abandoned mining town until hippies and artists took it over. Now it is vibrant!
- This print was exhibited September 4 thru October 4, 2015 in the “Back to School: Color and Abstraction” exhibit at the Washington Printmakers Gallery, honoring the Washington Color School, 50 years old in 2015.
- Archival inkjet print on Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth paper. 12×18-inch image matted to 18×24. Available, $250 unframed.
With its broad rectangular areas of color, this image is abstract, but I love the details that anchor the image to reality, especially the nine windows and their odd, jumbled patterns. And look at the dents above the lock: there’s a story there. Was someone locked out who wanted in?
Photography has this advantage over nearly every other medium: it documents reality. Photographs begin as a record of the real thing, not the artist’s imagination or interpretation. The raw photographic file is anchored, tied down, connected to reality in a way that painting and drawing and other media are not. That link to reality can be weakened or even severed by post-processing the image, by Photoshop manipulations and other transformations, but something important is lost in the procedure.
Because this Red Door image of mine is still strongly connected to reality, it is very different from the work of minimalist color-field painters whose work is easily criticized as too cerebral and empty. The fact that this is a photo ties it to a place with a history of abandonment and resurrection. This image is tied to a particular time and place.
That place is Madrid, New Mexico, east of Albuquerque and south of Santa Fe. It was a ghost town but is now a small art colony. Many of the old structures have been repainted bright colors and serve as artists’ galleries and studios, and as restaurants and bars for tourists like me.
Not every bold color scheme is successful, but this one is. Not every bold plan is successful; in fact, most are not. That was the starting point for my Photo Prayer 2015-34, using this image.
In addition to this 12×18-inch print, a smaller 8.5×11-inch print is available on deckled paper.